Thunderbird Titans Honored

Thunderbird High School's Achievement Above All Recipients Honored at Governing Board Meeting
Posted on 03/04/2022
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March 2022- Excellence continues at Glendale Union High School District as the Governing Board honored Thunderbird High School’s Achievement Above All recipients, including Teacher of the Year, Student of the Year, Student Group of the Year, Support Staff of the Year, and Volunteer of the Year during their latest meeting. Principal Jason Latham spoke about all recipients as well as presented them with a certificate or award for their achievements.


A district graduate and parents who are former teachers in the district, Matthew Unsworth is Thunderbird High School’s Teacher of the Year. Unsworth has been teaching at Thunderbird since 2016. He currently teaches U.S. History and Advanced Placement U.S. History. In addition to his teaching duties, Unsworth sponsors the Game Club on campus and serves as a
Glendale Union Education Association representative.

When asked what makes Unsworth passionate about teaching, he said, “I teach because there is no higher responsibility or greater honor than to pass civilization from one generation to the next.”

Matthew Unsworth

Principal Jason Latham says this year’s Student of the Year Neely Burns has been a model student during her time at Thunderbird. Burns is a dedicated student who shows up to class with an enthusiastic attitude to learn. Burns is not only a strong contributor on campus but also in the community. She dedicates a lot of her time to the school newspaper, where she is Editor in Chief, and to the Varsity Swim team. In addition to extracurricular activities, she also volunteers with the National Honor Society and National Charity League.

Burns is still undecided on which college to attend, but she says she plans on attending an out-of-state school where she can swim.

Neely Burns

Although a small group of 13, Thunderbird’s Student Group of the Year Girls’ Volleyball has accomplished a lot this school year. The group finished with a 16-1 regular-season record and hosted a playoff game for the first time in a decade. The team is stacked with talent from the group’s sponsor Coach Carly Price, being named Region Coach of the Year to all seniors signing to play college volleyball. All members of the team made the all-academic team for excellence in grades and high GPA. In addition to their work on the court and the classroom, the team gave back to the community by hosting a youth volleyball camp.

Coach Price says her future goals for the team include continuing to get college scholarships for seniors who want to play in college, and to continue to build a positive and purposeful community year after year.

Girls' Volleyball

No stranger to Thunderbird High School, Kim Hort is Thunderbird’s Support Staff of the Year. Hort is in her ninth year at Thunderbird High School. She first started as a Read 180 Aide, then worked as an Attendance Assistant. Now, Hort is the Lead Attendance Secretary. Assistant Principal for Discipline and Attendance, John Pierzchala, says, “As the Attendance Lead, Mrs. Hort has worked with her team to provide students, staff, and parents a high level of customer service to meet their needs.”

When Hort is not keeping track of attendance, she is spending time with her family. She says, “Especially my granddaughters.”

Kim Hort

Thunderbird High School parent, Karen Huttenmeyer, is this year’s Volunteer of the Year. Huttenmeyer serves as a member of the Thunderbird Parent Association, where she is the Treasurer of the Thunderbird Golf Event and Auction. She also serves as the Treasurer of the Thunderbird Band Booster Organization. Principal Latham says, “Mrs. Huttenmeyer is an outstanding example of the support that goes on behind the scenes to help us operate successfully.” In addition to volunteering at Thunderbird, Huttenmeyer has also volunteered at National Charity League, Boys Team Charity, Mountain Sky Site Council, COVID Community Core, and various voting rights campaigns.

When asked what Huttenmeyer’s most memorable volunteering experience was she said, “My most memorable volunteer experience was when I needed a police escort home with all of the cash raised at a very successful fundraising event.”

Karen Huttenmeyer